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Eating With Your Eyes

I once had a friend with the best culinary intentions, but zero food presentation skills. "It tastes better than it looks," she would assure reluctant diners, pushing yet another dubious-looking dish in their direction.

Needless to say, her guests were rarely convinced, and her offers were largely left untouched.

She'd have done well to remember a line that I learned early on in my cooking career.

"Food should always look spectacular…and the taste shouldn't let the look down."

When it comes to appetite appeal, diners really do eat first with their eyes, and enticing food styling is a must.

While it's challenging to add visual interest to meat and chicken, salads present the ideal opportunity to add vital color and contrast, and it's always the most decorative salad platters that are cleared first.

With its jeweled appearance, and addictively good flavor, this show-stopper is guaranteed to take center stage on any buffet table.

This showstopper salad, with its jeweled appearance and its essential contrast of colors, textures and flavors, is guaranteed to take center stage on any buffet or chag table. It is sure to be a hit all year through.

Jeweled Confetti Salad With Honey Coated Nuts 'n Noodles


Salad greens

Mixed baby leaves OR baby spinach

Finely shredded red & green cabbage

Sliced spring onion

Avocado, cubed or cut in wedges

Mango, cubed or sliced nectarines

Pomegranate seeds or cranberries

Honeyed nuts 'n noodles


½ cup olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons silan*

2 tablespoons whole tahini paste

Salt and coarse pepper to taste

Water to thin dressing

1 tablespoon canola oil

½ teaspoon crushed garlic

Honeyed nuts and seeds

½ cup uncooked instant noodles

¼ cup sesame seeds

¼ cup flaked almonds

¼ cup mixed sunflower & pumpkin seeds

2 tablespoons honey/silan

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt


1. Arrange salad ingredients on a flat platter, and whisk dressing ingredients together with a fork, adding enough water to make a light and pourable dressing.

2. Toss the noodles, nuts and seeds with oil, honey and seasoning, spread out on baking paper and toast at 180C for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally till coated and lightly browned.

3. Dress salad shortly before serving with gorgeously golden, honeyed nuts, noodles 'n seeds scattered over.


Instant noodles refer to the little packages/tubs of 5 minute noodles sold with a flavoring pack. Discard flavoring and break up uncooked noodles to mix with nuts and seeds. The noodle/nut topping may be replaced with Chinese pecans or chopped peanut brittle. Honey may be used in the dressing though silan is better. Change fruit or other ingredients as desired but always remember you need contrasting colors and textures.

■Creative cook and foodie fan Lisa Brink takes pleasure in sharing her shortcuts to culinary success. She is the marketing and recipe consultant at Meatland in Raanana. 



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Tuesday, 05 March 2024

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